Game review by Jeremy Hardin
Game – Cocoto Magic Circus 2
Version – Wii U eShop
Rating – E for Everyone
Obtained – Review Code courtesy of Neko Entertainment
Cocoto Magic Circus 2 is a shooting game aimed at families with its non-violent, gallery styled approach and support for up to 5 players. The trailer make it looks fun, but the real question is: will your family like it? I think so, but hey, read on to find out more!
Story and Plot
While it is a necessity for most games to offer an engaging story or deep character progression, Cocoto Magic Circus 2 has no need for any of that. It is a gallery shooter and makes no pretense to be anything other than just that. Upon starting the game you’re taken directly to the main menu so you can jump right into gameplay. Considering that this is a gallery shooter game, I found the simple entry point to be a relief. Not having a story allows you to go right in and focus on the game. Sure, the developers could pieced together some superficial plot to explain why you’re doing what you’re doing, but I just don’t think it would have made a bit of difference to the overall experience. Sometimes I want to be really involved, think about the story and connect with my character, other times I just want to play. Thankfully, Cocoto Magic Circus 2 allows me to do just that.
Gameplay and Controls
Cocoto Magic Circus 2 supports up to five players: one uses the GamePad, while the other four use Wii Remotes to play. There are three modes to go through: Exploration, Survival, and Sudden Death. You’ll most likely spend the majority of your time in Exploration mode as this is the main attraction. Players will find themselves exploring 5 differently themed worlds. Each world consists of five levels, and each of these are broken down into smaller one-screen stages. These usually amount to between 6 and 8, with a bonus stage thrown in for an extra opportunity to increase your score. For each stage you’ll be given a specific goal to achieve. For instance, hitting x number of a certain enemy type, scoring x amount of points, not hitting the Cocoto masks, etcetera. During each stage there will be green and red balloons that float up the screen. The green balloons provide bonuses while the red ones will cause temporary distractions. At the end of each stage you are graded in four categories and are awarded up to four stars based upon the results. Accumulating the maximum number of stars on each stage is the ultimate goal of Exploration mode.
Survival mode is exactly what it sounds like: seeing how long you can survive through an endless wave of stages. I played through this mode for a bit but it got old after a short while playing by myself. It also doesn’t help that the stages are just recycled from the main game.
While the game supports up to 5 players, I played it solo and used the GamePad throughout. The GamePad is used just like in Takamaru’s Ninja Castle, one of the games featured in Nintendo Land. You hold the GamePad horizontally and point it at the TV. Using the on-screen reticule you’ll target the on-screen enemies. I loved controlling the game this way and thought it actually enhanced the experience. I never used the Wii remotes to play, but I’m sure it’s a solid experience as well. Unfortunately, I was unable to play multi-player so I can’t comment on how well this mode works.
As for the difficulty well, it never gets too difficult. In fact, it’s really quite easy. The only reason I died in the video I recorded was because I wanted to see what would happen when you lose all your hearts. As for the easy difficulty, I expected this but I do think if the difficulty were increased a bit it would have more of a lasting appeal.
Graphics and Sound
I have to hand it to folks over at Neko Entertainment, they did an amazing job with their approach to the visual style. The game was styled after pop-up art book and combined with the camera direction gives the impression of looking in on a diorama the whole way through. The enemies sport a very geometric design which looks as though they were folded and created from construction paper. The environments are very well designed with multiple layers, nifty little animations, and fancy lighting effects. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Check out my direct capture footage video below and see for yourself.
Here is some direct feed footage I captured using the AverMedia ExtremeCap U3 – sweet eye candy!
The music is catchy and adds to the ambience of each level. I enjoyed it, but ultimately it’s not very memorable.
Final Score: 8.0 out of 10
Cocoto Magic Circus 2 is a gallery shooting game loaded with engaging gameplay, excellent animations and a truly impressive visual aesthetic. The experience overall is quite enjoyable. Unfortunately there are some issues that creep up. The length of the game is relatively short and the additional modes are just recycled gameplay ideas and locales from the main mode. This leads you to your biggest hurdle to overcome – repitition. If you can look past that oh, and the fairly steep ($29) price point, you’ll wind up having a rather enjoyable time with the latest game in the Cocoto series.
+ Family friendly/Non-Violent
+ Accessibility for gamers of all ages
– Too short